Human Rights

The Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 has already been passed in the state Legislative Assembly. The Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, was passed in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in December. However, it was not tabled in the Legislative Council, as BJP at the time had 32 seats in the Legislative Council – six short of the majority mark. The party now has 41 members in the Upper House. The Karnataka Cabinet had then decided to pass an Ordinance to get a clearance for the Bill. An Ordinance is a temporary law passed by the president or a governor when Parliament or a state Assembly is not in session. The ordinance was cleared by Karnataka Governor Thawarchand Gehlot on September 17. It was then required to be approved by the Assembly within six months or it will cease to be in effect. The Karnataka anti-conversion bill says that “conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage’’ is prohibited. Under the Bill, a person who engages in “forced conversion” will be punished with three to five years imprisonment. Forced conversions of members from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities will lead to

The Union government had told the Supreme Court that the allegations in a petition calling for a probe into attacks against Christians were based on 'falsehoods' and 'self-serving reports.' New Delhi: Last week, the Union government told the Supreme Court that a public interest litigation urging action against attacks on Christian was based on “self-serving reports”. Data gathered by a non-governmental organisation based on distress calls it received on a helpline number, however, records over 300 incidents of attacks – verbal, physical and with help of law enforcement – on Christians until July this year. On August 28, three people were arrested from a small village of Harchandpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareilly over allegations that they had attempted to forcibly converted people. On the day, the three – Ramvati, Dashrath and Raghuveer – say that activists affiliated to Hindutva organisations thronged their church, ostensibly in protest against ‘conversion attempts’ by the three. Hindutva groups had also complained to the police alleging the same. The FIR – accessed by The Wire – charges them under Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and

States ordered to verify allegations of persecution after federal government described cases as fake Christian leaders have lauded India’s top court for directing the states to verify allegations of persecution against the community people after the federal government refuted their complaints as baseless. “We are satisfied with the Supreme Court order,” Archbishop Peter Machado of the Archdiocese of Bangalore (now Bengaluru) told UCA News on Sept. 5. Archbishop Machado, based in Bengaluru, capital of southern Karnataka state, is one of the petitioners in the public interest litigation (PIL) that sought direction to end the persecution against Christians in the country. A division bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli in an interim order directed chief secretaries of eight states to verify allegations of persecution of Christians listed in the PIL. The verification, the court said, would help it know the reality after the federal government described the incidents listed in the PIL as fake cases and urged the court to dismiss the petition. The top court in its Sept. 1 order also directed the states to provide information such as preliminary police reports, status of investigation, arrests made and charges filed. The top court also directed the petitioners to provide a detailed breakdown of the

Around 200 attacks on Christians were reported within the first five months of this year in India, but the country’s government claimed before the Supreme Court that persecution of Christians was based on “half-baked and self-serving facts and self-serving articles and reports…based upon mere conjecture.” “There appears to be some hidden oblique agenda in filing such deceptive petitions, creating unrest throughout the country and perhaps for getting assistance from outside the country to meddle with internal affairs of our nation,” India’s federal interior ministry said in its response to a petition filed by Christian groups demanding an investigation into rising attacks on Christians and requesting police protection for places of worship, the Hindustan Times reported. Submitting the federal government’s response, India’s Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, told Justices Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna that it was only a “preliminary note.” Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, who said there were about 500 attacks on Christians across the country in 2021 alone, is preparing a response to the claim of the government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government claimed, “In some cases, incidents of purely criminal nature and arising out of personal issues, have been categorized as violence

Among scholars of note who have written to the apex court in the light of the Zakia Jafri judgment are Noam Chomsky, Martha Nussbaum, Wendy Brown and Sheldon Pollock. Top Global Scholars Urge SC to Review Recent Orders Harming 'Human Rights in India' A view of the Supreme Court building Photo: Reuters New Delhi: Top international scholars have written a statement expressing that they are deeply disturbed by some recent judgments of the Supreme Court which they believe have had a “direct bearing on the future of civil liberties and human rights in India.” The signatories draw attention to the apex court’s judgment in a plea by Zakia Jafri, the wife of slain MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a Special Investigation Team’s clean chit to 64 people, including then chief minister Narendra Modi, in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. The statement is signed by: Bhiku Parekh, House of Lords, London, UK. Noam Chomsky, Professor emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Professor, University of Arizona, USA. Arjun Appadurai, Professor, Max Planck Institute, Germany. Wendy Brown, Professor, Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, USA Sheldon Pollock, Professor Emeritus, Columbia University, USA. Carol Rovane, Professor, Columbia University, USA. Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus, McGill University, Canada. Martha Nussbaum, Professor, University of

One of the convicts spoke to and claimed he was innocent. He also claimed he had come home straight from prison, a fact belied by photos of the event. In Godhra, Bilkis Bano convicts felicitated by RSS member soon after their release Eleven men convicted in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out free on August 15. They were felicitated at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Trust auditorium by a member of the RSS. | Sitting in his family-run grocery store on Tuesday, flanked by a host of relatives, 47-year-old Radhshyam Shah kept referring to himself as the “accused”. When it was pointed out to him that he had, in fact, been convicted of gangrape – a verdict upheld by the Supreme Court – his response was matter-of-fact: “Yes, the court did say that.” “But,” he was quick to add, “we are innocent.” In 2008, Shah and 11 other men from Randhikpur in Gujarat’s Dahod district were sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a young pregnant woman from their village, Bilkis Yakub Rasul Patel, more commonly known as Bilkis Bano, and for murdering 14 of her relatives during the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat. Those killed included a day-old infant and Bano’s three-year-old daughter. The

Seeks dismissal of a petition for urgent intervention of Supreme Court to end attacks on Christians and their institutions India’s federal government has sought dismissal of a petition that sought to end the persecution of Christians, saying there could be a “hidden oblique agenda” behind it. In its affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on Aug. 16, the government said there seemed to be an agenda behind filing “such deceptive petitions.” The government alleged that such petitions were meant to “create unrest throughout the country and perhaps for getting assistance from outside the country to meddle with internal affairs of our nation.” The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, the National Solidarity Forum and the Evangelical Fellowship of India, said that an average of 45 to 50 violent attacks against Christian institutions and priests were reported every month. A record 57 attacks were recorded in May, the petition said and sought urgent intervention from the top court. Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the federal government, told the court that such “half-baked and self-serving facts and self-serving articles and reports culminating into a petition — based upon mere conjectures — clearly appear to be for an oblique purpose.” Describing the petition as

The situation facing Christians and other religious minorities in India is ‘unprecedentedly grave’, says an Open Doors spokesperson. Across India, people are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence. Christians and other religious minorities will be joining in the celebrations – but also recognising that they face discrimination that is ‘unprecedentedly grave’, in the words of Heena Singh*, Open Doors spokesperson on India. “The gravity of the situation, for Christians and Muslims especially, is at its peak,” says Heena. “Every day we receive new prayer requests from friends, for another Christian family attacked, or a pastor arrested on false accusation.” Hostility against Christians is getting worse There is a very large number of Christians in India – almost 69 million, according to Open Doors research – but this is only about five per cent of the country’s population. Christians and other religious minorities have long experienced some hostility, but attitudes are hardening and persecution is worsening as the influence of Hindutva increases. "Now it is often entire communities attacking and expelling converts." HEENA, OPEN DOORS “It is no longer small extremist groups attacking converts, now it is often entire communities attacking and expelling them, beating them or handing them over to the police on false accusations,” says

Western allies are likely to ignore the country’s transition into an ethnocracy given its role in balancing China. India’s democracy faces a crisis unprecedented in its 75-year-old history. An ethnocratic imagination undermines the inclusive Indian nationalism that imbued its founding movement and that aims to consolidate its Hindu majority as the dominant ethnos. Not only do religious minorities find themselves identified as internal enemies, but members of the historically oppressed Bahujan communities who do not conform to the image of a good Hindu are sought to be marginalised. In recent years, the list of internal enemies has come to include liberals and leftists, activists who have raised issues of the environment and human rights, and anyone else perceived to be “anti-national”. Dissent is muzzled, increasingly through official edicts. Old controversies over temples and mosques are reignited, as in Mathura and Varanasi over the last few months, where claims that mosques were built upon the demolition of temples have resurfaced. Local compromises negotiated by Hindus and Muslims over centuries are challenged, and new religious flashpoints threaten to rent asunder the social fabric knitted together by India’s diverse communities. India shares its democratic degradation with many other countries across the world. This process has been variously described as

The missionaries told the tribals that they will get relief from their pains if they convert to Christianity. The villagers in the Dahanu area of the Palghar district foiled an attempt of four Christian missionaries to convert the tribals to Christianity by luring them with money. The missionaries told the tribals that they will get relief from their pains if they convert to Christianity. The Dahanu police then arrested the four Christian missionaries on Friday, 5th August 2022. The incident took place in the Sarawli Talawpada village of the Dahanu taluka of the Palghar district on Friday afternoon when four Christian missionaries entered the house of an old tribal woman spotting her alone at her home. They lured her with money to convert to Christianity. The missionaries asked her to stop practicing her faith and accept Christianity so that she would get relief from her ailments. According to a report by Loksatta, they offered her money and tried to force her into religious conversion. As the local villagers and the members of Hindu organizations came to know that the missionaries have come to the village, they quickly gathered in large numbers and took those missionaries and the old woman to the local police

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